People are now pretending that a criticism of the composition of the committee is some sort of assault on the character of the members of the committee. No. The question is not about the ethics of their passionate commitments. Hypothetically, that may reflect well on them individually. The point is that they alone were picked for this committee. There was no denominational committee investigation. These men had already made up their minds and they had no one to interact with but each other.
That is a subversion of process. If the committee is supposed to have any authority in the conclusions it allegedly reached, it has to actually be a body that did not, as a body, have their unanimous conclusions from the outset.
As Jeff put it in only one of his thirty points:
5. The failure to appoint men who could represent the FV viewpoint is probably a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules (which the Assembly is required to follow unless it has adopted its own special rules) specifies that “special committees” (i.e. committees which are not permanent, standing committees but committees formed for particular purposes, such as for study, investigation, etc.) should be composed of representatives of “all points of view”:”When a special committee is appointed for deliberation or investigation. . . it should represent, as far as possible, all points of view in the organization, so that its opinion will carry maximum weight (§49, “Appointment of Committees,” subtitle “Proper Composition of Committees,” emphasis added).”
Robert’s Rules goes on to state, “The usefulness of the committee will be greatly impaired, on the other hand, if any important faction of the assembly is not represented.” Just as Robert’s Rules warned, the usefulness of this Report is indeed greatly impaired because of the Moderator’s failure to include qualified representatives of the assembly who could speak for the men associated with the FV.
It would be very unwise for the Assembly to adopt a badly skewed Report that was produced by a committee that did not properly represent all relevant points of view in the PCA.
Finally, appealling to alleged facts about how the Federal Vision is so evil, completely begs the question and proves the point at issue. If the FV is so evil it should be demonstrable though an unbiased committee selection process or it should come out through the courts of the Church. As it stands now, we have denominations that have gone both ways on the Federal Vision and we have the committees of Presbyteries that have gone both ways in the PCA. Nowhere do we have any judicial or constitutional cause for excluding PCA ministers from process and giving people with a known record of opposition toward them (and that is actually a rather mild description of what has been going on) the right to speak for the PCA.
It is quite plain that for a party in the PCA, this committee is supposed to redress the fact that somehow Presbytery after Presbytery is incompetent to protect the “vitals” of true religion. In the face of an overwhelming record of claiming that the only way to address the orthodoxy of a minister in the PCA is through the courts, we are now seeing a highly selective committee attempt to direct a verdict from those courts.
And again, why are some people so afraid of John Frame or Peter Lillback or Reggie Kidd that they had to be excluded from the process? Put aside the issue of not allowing Peter Leithart on the committee (a member in good standing in his presbytery–in which a committee found him orthodox), why not any number of men known for their even handedness or expertise?
- 30 Reasons Why It Would be Unwise for the PCA General Assembly to Adopt the Federal Vision Study Report and Its Recommendations (PDF, HTML).